D I S C O G R A P H Y
Nouveau Calls (1987)
Released: December 1987
Label: IRS No Speak
Martin Turner's memories:
Early in 1987 Miles Copeland approached all four original members of Wishbone Ash independently with a view to us recording an album of new instrumental material as part of a series of albums for No Speak, a subsidiary of his IRS label. Steve Upton and Andy Powell were receptive to the idea. I too agreed to get involved in principle, but only on two conditions, those being a) that it was the full original band, and b) that I be allowed to produce the album. Ted was probably the most difficult to convince. He was living in Los Angeles and in the process of moving to Chicago and so Andy agreed to fly out there to discuss the offer with him. Like myself, Ted was busy getting on with his life and probably hadn’t expected Wishbone Ash to come back to him at that time, but Andy helped convince him that it was a worthwhile project.
For me personally, I felt there had been enough water under the bridge since my split with the band in 1980 and I was more than happy to contemplate working with my former band-mates again. We were all a little older and wiser and I think we all recognised the unique chemistry that existed between the four of us. The fact that the album was to be an instrumental album, while restricting in some ways, was also part of the appeal for us all in that it was a fresh challenge and we had an opportunity to do something new and exciting within the framework of Wishbone Ash. Musically we had all absorbed new individual experiences and had a lot of fresh input and ideas to contribute.
Most of the material on the album was written by Andy and myself. Each track was slightly different in the way it was conceived and constructed. Some pieces came predominately from one writer, whereas others were a true collaboration. Both Andy and I came to the project with a stockpile of material. Andy had a lot of instrumental pieces that had not yet found a home. My input was slightly different in that most of the tunes I brought to the table were essentially finished songs, including lyrics, which we re-worked into the instrumental format. Because the melodic content of my material was pretty strong, the songs worked equally well as instrumentals.
Nouveau Calls was released on the IRS No Speak label in December 1987. We were delighted with some of the feedback the album received both from fans as well as the music press. Our label boss was also pleased with the album. “When I commissioned this album I knew it would be great,” said Miles. “I am proud to have this album on my label and be associated again with the first group I ever managed." The general feeling was that many people thought it was really good to see the original Wishbone Ash back together in a completely different way."
adapted from the book "No Easy Road - My Life and Times With Wishbone Ash"
I like Nouveau Calls, though it's clearly not your typical Wishbone Ash album. Not because instrumentals are foreign to WA - clearly they are not - but most of the tracks on this album are not typical Wishbone instrumentals. "Real Guitars Have Wings" and "The Spirit Flies Free" being the closest to what you would expect. But most of the songs are based around repeating phrases, with keyboards and some minor keys. And, surprisingly, it works for the most part. "Clousseau" and "Flags Of Convenience" I think are my favourites, whilst "Arabesque" and "Johnny Left Home Without It" don't do a lot for me. But the best thing about this album is that it probably saved the band from disappearing into obscurity. And it was followed by the even better Here To Hear.
Some of these numbers either started of life as actual songs but either never fully developed that way or were deliberately devocalised in order to fit the bill. At least one if them appears on MT's solo album as a song. Also a number of patterns and progressions clearly started as keyboard excursions and as such are bound to add a different flavour. In fact Martin's keyboards are quite prevalent on this album. I'm firmly in the camp that thinks this is an often ignored little gem of an album.